Best of Portland

Some of the top images from the weekend.  I'd say they capture the spirit of the town.


1. Hotel room at the Nines.
2. Bhumi and the funny four-way drinking fountains.
3. Prints at the Compound Gallery.
4. Woodblock prints at the Compound Gallery
5. "Drama" on the way to Powell's.
6. Bike stands in front of Powell's.
7. Powell's city of books.
8. Snack at Urban Fondue: white cheddar, gruyere, brie, caramelized onions, port.
9. Pink peonies at Sammy's Flowers.
10. Toga run on NW 23rd.
11. Desserts at Papa Hadyn.
12. Garry, Seth and Maureen at Papa Hadyn.
13. Seth's asparagus appetizer with poached egg on top.
14. My roasted chicken breast with mushroom-leek bread pudding.
15. Garry's croque monsieur.
16. The library at the Nines hotel.
17. Garry ordering a drink at Kelly's.
18. Random pants next to a dumpster.
19. Random gallery near Powell's.
20. T-shirt, as seen outside Byways Cafe.
21. Garry's OJ at Byways Cafe.
22. Amaretto french toast with pecan butter, bacon and over-easy egg at Byways Cafe.
23. Hallway at Kennedy School.
24. Garry and a drinking fountain at Kennedy School.
25. The gym at Kennedy School.
26. Detention Bar at Kennedy School.
27. Boiler Room Bar at Kennedy School.
28. Hockey masks at Local 35 on Hawthorne.
29. "Two heads tripping under one mushroom" at House of Vintage on Hawthorne.
30. Food cart on Hawthorne - CLOSED on Sundays =(.
31. Food carts on Hawthorne.
32. Garry and his spicy-grilled...corn on the cob.
33. Walking across Hawthorne Bridge.
34. Walking across Hawthorne Bridge.
35. Willamette River as seen off of Hawthorne Bridge.
36. "You're Cool" on Hawthorne Bridge.
37. Random park in downtown.
38. Sushi Land - conveyor belt sushi!

Foggy Sunday: Brunch & Fortune-Telling

It was the perfect way to spend a quiet, foggy Sunday afternoon: a gathering of ladies for Albanian treats, fruit, tea, and Turkish coffee.

This was the first time I drank Turkish coffee - there's a whole process to its preparation and how you use the grinds for fortune-telling.  We don't take the fortunes too seriously but it was fun, and a bit like cloud-watching, to read into symbols we saw and try our hand at interpreting them.

Canan brought the coffee and the cezve (special small pot) all the way from Turkey.  Hava added ground coffee, sugar, and water and placed it over the burner until it started to boil and foam at the top.  She poured it into tiny coffee cups and we had it with baklava.

After each of us finished her coffee, we placed the saucer on top of the cup and swirled it three times, clockwise, then turned the cup over onto the table.  We had to wait about ten minutes for the grinds to cool and dry against the cups.  Canan told us we could place metal jewelry or a coin on top to speed the cooling.  When each cup was ready, Canan carefully turned it over and began the reading.  My fortune, she said, was very clear, with not a lot of distortion or confusion (strange, because I've certainly felt a lot of confusion in my life).  Keep in mind she is not very practiced at fortune telling, and anyway it's all up to individual interpretation. =)
  • The first thing she saw was a very clear road leading to a V (which looked a bit like a Y): Could I think of a person or place that starts with the letter V?  Or is it a long road to eventual victory?
  • She saw a tiny bear paw: plans to commune with nature?  Interesting - I have plans to visit Portland soon!
  • A heart with someone talking over it: indeed, I had just spent about six hours on Friday talking about relationships, with a friend.  Though now that I look at it again, it looks like a snake trying to attack the heart, but there are two hands protecting the heart.
  • A camel: no idea what this means.  Any guesses?
  • The number 2
  • Anything else?
Check out this blog that is all about Turkish coffee, including common symbols and their interpretations!

Who knew there were so many Burmese people in the Bay Area

My family and I went to Half Moon Bay this afternoon, for a food festival put on by a Burmese monastery there.  I've rarely seen so many Burmese people (outside of Burma, that is) in one place, and I have no idea where they came from!  And unlike most of the events my parents take me to, there were a lot of Burmese Burmese people, not overseas Chinese-Burmese (hua ren in Mandarin) like my family.

Soo much good food to sample.  In the pictures below: 
  • Mandalay meeshay, similar to Yunnanese mishen (rice noodles) with pickled mustard greens (suan cai) and pork
  • Spring roll salad (doke)
  • Noodle doke with potatoes and tofu
  • Throngs of people
  • A man dishing out mohinga from the hugest pot I have ever seen in my life
  • My own bowl of mohinga garnished with cilantro and chili
  • The whole pot of chili sauce
  • Hosing down the giant pots and woks afterward
  • Some sign written in Burmese script

Now everyone can have a little fetus inside them

I was walking along, minding my own business at work when there, on an abandoned desk, I saw this.  A cookie-cutter shaped like a fetus.  I yelled, "whose is this!?"  And Tara's head popped over the divider and was like, "OMG, I'm so glad you found it!  Isn't it awesome?  Now everyone can have a little fetus inside them!"  She's currently expecting her first boy.

I had to take a picture.  They are $9 at (wtf? for a cookie cutter!?).

From the website: "Hey, anyone can bake cookies shaped like circles or trees or hearts -- But it takes a special kind of person to make these babies. Just stamp your fetuses out of cookie dough, pop them in the oven, and then let them gestate for a few minutes. When they're done, your kitchen will be filled with the enchanting aroma of fresh baked fetuses."

Berkeley Day

Last weekend my friends and I made a day of it in Berkeley, from 11:30am to 10:30pm.  Basically the whole day revolved around food.  It was fun, as Berkeley always is.  Highlights:

  • Tour (or more like a lecture) at the Charles Chocolates factory in Emeryville
  • Berkeley Bowl market, where you can find something like 30 varieties of apples (among other things)
  • Cheeseboard pizza...yum!
  • Gourmet ghetto on Shattuck
  • 4th street shopping, esp the Crate & Barrel outlet and bizarre kitchenware at Sur la Table
  • Dinner at Nan Yang, a Burmese restaurant in the Rockridge neighborhood
  • Dessert at Ici ice cream, by the former pastry chef of Chez Panisse

Blast from the past

I went with my brother to Marukai, one of the largest Japanese specialty markets around here.  Besides the crazy $120/lb. Wagyu beef for sale and the much more reasonably priced sukiyaki I bought, I came across this candy I used to eat when I was a kid: Super Lemon.  Actually they come in a bunch of flavors, like Super Apple and Super Cola.

We used to sell these on the playground for $0.25 apiece to the non-Asian kids who didn't know where to buy them.  Hah!  We were entrepreneuer-capitalists even back then.

I always loved the cheeky comic-book packaging.  "OH! Powerful Candy."

Hie thee in haste to Costco...

...where thou shallst find the best chocolate milk EVARrrr. Well, maybe only if you live in California.

We used to have individual packs of this wonderful chocolate milk from Clover Organic Farms.  It was my coworker Brent who first tipped me off to this fabulous snack that was kind of a well-kept secret on campus.  Only those in the know, or in certain buildings, enjoyed it.  Why I love it:
  • Reduced fat - only 5g/serving
  • Not too sugary-sweet, syrupy or chalky like most kinds of chocolate milk
  • Wonderfully creamy and rich mouthfeel
  • Hormone-free!
I was disappointed when they started disappearing from the fridges, but not surprised--I saw identical cartons selling at Red Rock Coffee for $2 apiece!

Imagine my joy when I was wandering the aisles of Costco this weekend and saw a box of 24 chocolate milks (re-branded as Kirkland Signature) selling for less than $15!